Monday, December 12, 2011

Luxury coffee

Yes, I know, I griped about the romanticization of the Latte Factor, but keep in mind, I'm now giving you a tutorial on manufacturing the snobbery I suggested.  Most of us do try to be careful with our cash and making our own coffee is one way many of us do it.  If you're like me, often the most affordable choice coffee-wise is the choice that will never win you any friends among coffee aficionados, however, all is not lost if you're a snobby demanding princess like yours truly.

First, when you make the coffee, make it a little stronger.  Throw in one or two extra scoops of coffee into your percolator, coffee maker, or french press.  Then, put in or two ingredients from the following list:

Ground up cardamom pods. If you have a coffee or spice grinder, you can get this done fairly quickly--if you have a decent knife and/or a mortar and pestle or a heavy bottle and bowl, you can crush them this way, though it's more time consuming.  Cardamom pods are expensive in the grocery store; don't go this route.  If you want to try this, go to an Indian grocery where you can get spices very reasonably priced or try online.  You can also try the powder instead of grinding the pods yourself, but keep in mind that the powder loses its potency quite quickly.   So I prefer the pods.  Grind about two pods per cup of coffee you're brewing, and mix in with the grounds (if you have coffee beans that you're grinding, just include the pods in with the beans before grinding).  It adds a nice, warm liquoricey flavor to your coffee.

Cinnamon and nutmeg.  I'll add a teaspoon of cinnamon and/or nutmeg to the coffee grounds before brewing.  It gives it a warm, sweet flavor.  I suppose you could get the nutmeg pods and grate them yourself, but I go through a lot of ground nutmeg so I'm quite comfortable getting the ground stuff.

Cocoa.  If you want a hint of chocolate flavor, add a teaspoon of cocoa to the coffee grounds.

Vanilla.  Take a teaspoon of vanilla extract and add to the coffee grounds.

Whole or ground cloves.  Go very easy on these; cloves are very strong.  Use one or two whole cloves, or 1/8 teaspoon ground in  the coffee grounds.

Milk/cream.  Now, if you're like me, you like your coffee with a lot of milk.  I heat up the milk before adding coffee to it--the drink stays hot for longer and it feels quite luxurious.  If I'm in a hurry, I heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.  If I have time, I heat it in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove.  I take a whisk and keep stirring it/frothing it to keep the milk from scalding at the bottom.  (I do not have a frother.)  If you want a stronger flavor of added spices, you could put them in the milk instead of the coffee grounds (well, except for the ground cardamom pods).  I haven't done this, though--I tend to add things to the grounds and let the subtle scent/flavors carry the day.

When I take coffee to work with me in the morning I prefer to heat up the milk.  If I don't, the coffee is cold and bitter by the time my commute is over.  This way, it stays hot.  It's also kind of luxurious.

And this means that I'm far less inclined to buy coffee at a Starbucks, since the stuff I make really is much, much better.  That ain't sour grapes, that's just some really luxurious coffee.


  1. Oooo, some of these sound amaaaazing! I'll have some nutmeg left over from a Christmas project so that's the first one to try on my list! I've done chocolate coffee (Mocha, haha) before too. Mmm, nutmeg coffee.

  2. DH has infused his own vanilla just for his morning coffee... once you start the homemade coffee habit, apparently it can take you hardcore.

  3. Heh. It really can bring out the snob in you, lol. I knew I had taken it too far when I was at my sister's house on Thanksgiving and she apologized for forgetting to heat up the milk for me. I had to explain to her that when other people make me coffee and those people are not at a coffee shop or restaurant, I'm grateful for the hospitality and don't fuss over the hot milk, lol.